A former State Feed (and pet food) Inspector has plead guilty in a federal criminal investigation involving pet food ingredients.
What started back in 2014 with Purina Pet Foods suing Blue Buffalo Pet Foods for including by-products in their pet foods while claiming no by-products were used, has led to felony charges of multiple individuals and multiple companies. All charged and pleading guilty to knowingly labeling “feather meal” (a by-product consisting of ground feathers) as chicken meal and selling the mislabeled ingredients to Blue Buffalo and an unknown amount of pet food manufacturers.
And now this story has taken another very concerning twist, one of the individuals that plead guilty to selling mislabeled pet food ingredients was – a former state feed official. Someone who was supposed to protect the consumer from adulterated products, instead sold adulterated products to pet food.
The former Texas inspector, Gregory S. McKinney, 49, waived indictment and pleaded guilty May 11 to a federal felony of adulteration or misbranding of food. McKinney was once employed by the Office of the Texas State Chemist, which investigates the agriculture and feed industries.
While still employed by the state, he formed and ran a company called Superior Commodities LLC to “replicate” practices he’d once investigated, his plea agreement says.
McKinney admitted in his plea to supplying falsely labeled ingredients for pet food products to boost profits. The products were labeled as chicken meal, which is supposed to contain higher quality ingredients, but instead contained cheaper ingredients.
McKinney’s company earned $2 million or more that way, and he took in roughly half of that amount, his plea says. At his sentencing hearing, set for Aug. 24, he could face roughly four years in prison.
Why was a State Feed Official ever allowed to form and run a feed/pet food ingredient company while being a state employee tasked with inspecting the very products his business sold? Where was the oversight on this concerning conflict of interest?
How many other State Feed/Pet Food Officials own conflict of interest companies?
This is the first time – to my knowledge – that a corrupt State Feed Official has faced federal charges. Our thanks to the prosecuting attorneys in this case.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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